Peterhead Fish market. (Photo: sbnn)
Brexit could affect jobs in Scottish processing industry, businessman warns
Friday, January 11, 2019, 02:30 (GMT + 9)
An important businessman from the Scottish seafood industry urges UK MPs to give “serious consideration” to the industry’s workforce needs after Brexit.
Ryan Scatterty, managing director of Thistle Seafoods, based in Boddam, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, is concerned about the threat of a negative impact on sector jobs after the UK separates from the European Union (EU), mainly because many employees in the Scottish processing factories are foreigners, and it is not known if they will be allowed to continue working in the United Kingdom.
Scatterty said that, although there will be good opportunities for the catch sector after Brexit, it would be of little use to processors if they do not have enough workers, reported Press and Journal.
Thistle Seafoods processing plant - Scotland
He also highlighted that north-east factories were already having difficulties to recruit people because of the area’s relatively low unemployment and competition from the oil and gas industry.
In his opinion, exports are also being threatened if there is not an agreed deal with the EU. Much of the fresh seafood is exported from the north-east into the EU, so, a Brexit transition agreement on trade is vital for the processing plants.
Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive, Bertie Armstrong, has repetedly hightlighted the potential benefits sector would have after the UK becoming an independent coastal state.
He also said that the proposed Fisheries Bill - currently under scrutiny - is “enabling legislation” to unlock massive potential.
“There was a study last June by the Scottish Government. It estimated a realistic figure would be an additional GBP 500million to the Scottish industry and 5,000 jobs”. That is the order of potential benefits. We would like to see that potential embraced,” Armstrong concluded.